Don’t diet in pregnancy
Cutting out food groups may deprive your baby against nutrients they need for growth. Instead of dieting, it is best to
Do take folic acid and vitamin D
Folic acid reduces your baby’s risk of neural tube defects to almost nil. It is ideal to start taking it three months before conception but if it’s too late for that, don’t worry but start taking the recommended daily amount now and continue taking it until the end of the first trimester (week 12 of your pregnancy).
Vitamin D helps your baby develop healthy bones, teeth and muscles. It helps to regulate the levels of calcium and phosphate in your body. You need these to keep your bones and teeth healthy.
Taking a daily vitamin D supplement is even more important if you are at risk of vitamin D deficiency:
- if you have darker skin
- if you get less sunlight, for example you stay inside a lot, or if you usually cover your skin for cultural reasons.
These two supplements are the only ones you need in pregnancy unless your doctor or midwife diagnoses a deficiency, such as iron deficiency.
You can buy them cheaply in high street chemists or supermarkets (if you buy own brand supplements individually they can be cheaper than the branded packs of pregnancy vitamins).
If you are receiving benefits or are under 18 you might be able to get free vitamins with the government Healthy Start scheme.
Do stay active
Being sedentary (sitting down a lot) is not healthy for you or your baby.
It puts you at higher risk of too much weight gain, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and varicose veins and you are more likely to have shortness of breath and lower back pain.
If you did exercise before you became pregnant, you can continue at the same level but listen to your body and slow down when you feel uncomfortable.
If you didn’t exercise before you became pregnant, you don’t have to take up organised exercise classes, the important thing is to be active. There are tips here to help you build exercise into your day.
The recommended amount of activity for pregnant women is 30 minutes a day four times a week.
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